Category A project

Boliden: Rönnskär leaching plant and Kevitsa mine expansion

Country: Sweden and Finland
Borrower: Boliden Mineral AB
Sector: Industries & services
Published for 30 days on: 14 Feb 2020
Planned date for decision by Board of Directors: 21 Apr 2020

Project summary

Project description - Boliden Rönnskär leaching plant (Sweden):

The leaching plant at Boliden Rönnskär will be located within the existing industrial area of the smelter. The area is classified as an industrial area in the local zoning plan. Leaching will be done on existing, deposited hazardous waste that is historically generated by the smelter operations and by new falling hazardous waste from the operations. By upgrading and treating the hazardous waste (consisting of flue gas material), Boliden will increase the extraction of metals from the mined ore, while simultaneously reducing the amount of hazardous waste and stabilising the waste to be deposited at the newly constructed deep rock cavern deposit at the site.
It is expected that up to 50,000 tons of waste will be leached and treated annually. The waste will be transformed in to an annual additional production of 25 ktonnes of lead sulphate and 25 ktonnes of copper/zinc sulphate.
The main chemicals to be used in the leaching process is sulfuric acid from Boliden’s own production and green liquor and lye from nearby pulp mill production.
The plant will be totally enclosed to prevent any potential spills and handling of the waste will be done under covered conditions to prevent dusting. It is assessed that the handling and leaching at the plant will have minimal impact on the surrounding environment. There are no protected areas close by. The cleaning up of the historical deposits will have a positive effect on the spreading of contaminants to both air and groundwater.
The use of side-products from both the Rönnskär smelter and the pulp industry is also seen as positive in a material resource efficiency perspective. The leaching plant has received necessary permits.

Project website:

Project description - Kevitsa mine expansion (Finland):

The Kevitsa deposit is a large but low-grade ore body consisting of iron, nickel, and copper sulphides with high local concentrations of platinum, palladium, and gold. According to a resource and reserve estimate produced in March 2018, the total mineral resources of the deposit amount to approximately 129 million tonnes with mining reserves of approximately 66 million tonnes.
FQM Kevitsa Mining Oy, acquired by Boliden, was granted a permit to extract 10 million tonnes of ore per annum at the Kevitsa site in Sodankylä, Finland on 17 July 2014. The permit covers mining, crushing and grinding, processing of the ore to produce nickel and copper concentrates, water supply, wastewater treatment and depositing the resulting waste. The works include connecting the site to an electricity supply, building access roads, arranging water supply, and making provision for wastewater treatment.
This project involves the scaling up of mining intensity by raising the annual throughput rate to 9.5 million tonnes. The increased capacity is to be achieved by expanding the open pit. An increase in the mineral processing capacity will also inevitably increase the quantities of chemicals used. The volume of water required for the process is nevertheless expected to remain largely unchanged. Increasing the overall mining capacity will also increase the dimensions of the mine, which in turn will increase the need for drainage and the volume of wastewater. The volumes of waste rock and tailings resulting from mineral processing will also increase, along with the space required for depositing the waste materials. The volume of traffic will increase, as more transport will be required.
The concentrates will be transported by road to a port in the Bay of Bothnia or to a rail terminal located between Kemijärvi and Rovaniemi. The life of the mine is believed to extend to approximately 20–30 years depending on the annual mining volumes and the overall scale of operations. The operations hold all applicable permits.

Project website:

NIB welcomes comments on the project in question.

Project sponsor contact information

Boliden Rönnskär project:

Monica Quinteiro
General Manager
Boliden Rönnskär
932 81 Skelleftehamn, Sweden

Boliden Kevitsa project:

Henrik Grind
General Manager
Boliden Kevitsa

NIB contact information
Please write "Category A project" in the subject field.
Nordic Investment Bank
Environmental Unit
P.O. Box 249
FI-00171 Helsinki

This document was prepared and disclosed at an early stage of NIB's review of the project, before consideration by NIB's Board of Directors. Details of the project may change following disclosure.
The Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and EIA summaries are produced by the project sponsors, and NIB makes them available without any comment or implied endorsement. Any views expressed or statements made in the EIA or the EIA Summary do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of NIB.